Degree Division
Occupational & Environmental Health Division
Program Contact
Paul Bozek

Program Overview

Occupational hygiene is a multidisciplinary profession drawing upon many basic and applied disciplines in the life, physical, engineering and behavioural sciences. The main aim of the profession is the prevention of disease and injury arising from the workplace. It involves the identification of health hazards, the evaluation or assessment of the extent of risk posed by the hazards, and the elimination or control of the risks. Health hazards typically found in the workplace include chemicals; physical agents, such as noise, heat, vibration and radiation; and biological agents, such as bacteria, fungi and viruses. These risks often extend beyond the workplace and into the ambient environment. In addition, ergonomic and safety hazards are encountered in workplaces, and their identification and control are part of an integrated approach to managing health, safety and environment.

Occupational Hygienists require a sound understanding of modern technology and industrial processes, and their impact on health and safety. Also they must understand the political, psycho-social and economic context in which they operate and they must work effectively with medical/clinical, engineering, and human resources professionals, employees/workers as well as business/organizational leaders and workplace stakeholders such as union and labour leaders.

Occupational Hygiene is a well established profession, with professional competency standards, set by both the Canadian Registration Board of Occupational Hygienists (CRBOH) and the American Board of Industrial Hygiene (ABIH).

Program Objectives

The objective of this degree is to train Occupational Hygiene professionals to anticipate, identify, assess, and manage risks to health posed by hazardous materials, agents and processes.  Although the focus is the occupational environment, graduates can also apply these principles in non-occupational settings within built environments.  Key themes of the program are; evaluation of exposures to hazards, devising effective hazard controls, and developing management strategies to optimize occupational health.

Upon completion of the program, graduates will be able to:

  • Identify physical, chemical, biological and psychosocial agents, factors, stressors generated or associated with defined sources, operations or processes
  • Describe the effects of exposure to workplace hazards and scientific methods used in hazard analysis and risk assessment
  • Develop and implement control strategies to mitigate or reduce exposure and evaluate the effectiveness of these interventions
  • Demonstrate knowledge of the principles of physical and biological sciences necessary for developing competence in the theoretical and practical aspects of occupational hygiene
  • Demonstrate knowledge of ergonomics, occupational safety, accident prevention, and, occupational health and safety considerations of labour relations
  • Demonstrate the critical skills required in the review of scientific literature, and a knowledge of research methods, including epidemiological and statistical techniques as they apply to occupational health
  • Communicate effectively with labour, management, the public and other members of the scientific community

Explain the influence of workplace hazards on the general environment and the role of the hygienist in environmental protection

Students are provided with hands-on experience during field exercises in actual industrial and occupational environments. This is a vital component of their professional training.  The full core competencies of the MPH Occupational and Environmental program are listed here [Link to competencies]

Career Opportunities

Graduates in OEH are in demand across Canada, entering directly into responsible positions. Approximately 35% of the graduates are working in the industrial sector: employed in manufacturing, petrochemical, aerospace, pharmaceutical, steel, mining and other industries. Over one quarter of the graduates work in the service/public sector, for employers such as municipal, provincial and federal governments, school boards, colleges, universities, hospitals and public utilities, in corporate health and safety functions. Fifteen percent of the graduates are employed by provincial and federal governments in a regulatory/policy role. Another 15% of the graduates are employed as consultants, either independently, in small groups or for larger consulting firms. In addition, some of the graduates have gone on to careers in research and academia.

Admission Requirements

Each year we accept approximately 15 students in total, with varied academic science backgrounds.  We advise all prospective students to review the general admission requirements prior to submitting an application.  From this link, information about how to submit an application, timelines and specific information for international applicants can be obtained.

Ideally, applicants have completed courses in a variety of areas including chemistry, physiology/toxicology, statistics, mathematics, biology, and physics. Successful applicants have obtained their undergraduate degree in the physical, life, engineering or environmental sciences.  It is highly recommended that applicants have taken at least one undergraduate statistics course.  To fulfill this admission requirement, applicants should have successfully completed this course during their undergraduate education, prior to the application deadline.

Previous applicable experience is taken into account, but is not necessary for admission. All suitable applicants are invited to an interview (in person or by telephone/internet).

Program Requirements

Students in this program are required to complete 10.0 Full Course Equivalents (FCE) within the maximum time limit of 3 years as a full-time student and 6 years as a part-time student.  Please note most students complete their degree within 2 years. The table below is a guideline indicating what and when course can be taken, including practica.

Term Course Title FCE
(3.0 FCE)
CHL5004H1 Introduction to Public Health Sciences(Required) 0.5
CHL5220H Introduction to Quantitative Research (Required) 0.5
CHL5904H Perspectives in Occupational Health and Safety – Legal and Social Context (Required) 0.5
CHL5910H2 Occupational and Environmental Hygiene I2 0.5
CHL5912H  Industrial Toxicology (Required) 0.5
MIE1411H3 Applied Occupational Ergonomics3 0.5
Term 2 (2.5 FCE)
CHL5903H2 Environmental Health2 0.5
CHL5911H2 Occupational and Environmental Hygiene II2 0.5
CHL5914H2 Physical Agents I – Noise2 0.5
CHL5915H2 Control of Occupational Hazards2 0.5
CHL5918H2 Biological Hazards in the Workplace and Community2 0.5
Term 3 (2.0 FCE)
Required MPH Practicum 2.0
Term 4 (2.5 FCE)
CHL5410H2 Occupational Epidemiology2 0.5
CHL5413H2 Public Health Sanitation2 0.5
CHL5902H2 Advanced Occupational Hygiene2 0.5
CHL5907H2 Radiological Health2 0.5
CHL5917H2 Concepts in Safety Management2 0.5
Total 10.0

1CHL5004H begins earlier in September than regularly scheduled graduate courses.
2 Students are encouraged to select these recommended electives, but may select another graduate course subject to approval.
Students with a degree in human factors/ergonomics or kinesiology are advised not to take MIE1411H.